This beautiful icon, Our Lady of Vladimir, or Lady of Tenderness as the Russians call her, is in many ways a national icon of Russia and its story is that of Russia herself. It was first brought from Constantinople to Kiev, as an indication that the protection that Our Lady had given to Constantinople was now transferred to the new Slavic converts. Then it was taken North to Vladimir where it got its name, and finally to Moscow, to protect Moscow from the invasion of Tamerlane from the East.
This maternal image humanized the Christian message for the Russian people. Our Lady is reaching down, tenderly to the baby Jesus who is shown to be already mature and wise, even as a child.
Our Lady provided the ultimate protection. Her entry into heaven offered the salvation that Russians longed for, from all their troubles on earth.